The Hexagon Project

Do you know that feeling when a small idea keeps on growing and changing? That’s what happened to my Hexagon Project.

It started with a single, purple hexagon. No big deal. I put in the number ‘001’, and intended to change or add a small thing to the illustration every day. And increase the number, of course.

The Hexagon Project was born.


Uncommissioned work for inspiration

For a designer, I think uncommissioned, free work very important. Free work is work that you do for yourself, not for a customer. It’s inspiring, and allows you to challenge yourself. Learn new techniques. Try new software. It broadens your views.

I made the Hexagon Project to commit myself to doing free work. It’s one of those things that I tend to forget about in the daily grind. I set an aim at 366 Hexagons to keep myself occupied for at least a year.



Quickly, I found ways to make small references and jokes, usually related to the number. You may have spied (ha!) the James Bond reference in 007, above. 020 has one to Amsterdam, 030 to Utrecht. Of course, 042 references The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.


Originally, I posted this project on social media during 2015, 2016 and 2017. In most posts, I used the trivia as a comment.

However, finding a fitting trivium wasn’t always easy! The project taught me a lot, including that Penelope had 108 suitors, that TAKI 183 was an influential graffiti artist, and that Derrick had a total of 281 episodes. Wikipedia was one of the biggest helps here.


Plans and surprises

The project tended to surprise me. Lots of the effects I created in the different hexes are logical progressions. Functions in Illustrator, which I tweaked the variables of by a little every day.

Some things I planned meticulously. The bee in 056-066 is an example. But often, I was surprised by a simple process that turned out very beautiful. One of those was the concentric circle pattern in the hex on the lower right that lasted from 183 through 243.

I did plan the end. The idea of ending at number 366 was there from the start. I also knew I wanted to come full circle: have 366 be identical to 001.

Judge for yourself, in 36 seconds:


Hexagon Project Prints

Have a favourite? Tell me, and I can make you a print of it. Get in touch, and let me know which one you like!

Here are all of them, in order.